German Food from North to South and by Region
If you've ever attended an Oktoberfest celebration anywhere in the world, you're probably familiar with some basic German foods. Bratwurst is a staple at such festivals, and is usually served with sauerkraut, and maybe warm German potato salad. Then it's all washed down with a hearty ale, or a stout beer. But there's a lot more to German cuisine than these few common menu items, and you don't even have to learn German to enjoy them. Take a look at these authentic German dishes by region, and then give them a try!
Bordering the North Sea, this part of Germany incorporates a lot of seafood into its cuisine. One of the most popular dishes of the area is "Aalsuppe", which is a sweet and sour eel soup that contains vegetables, bacon, and sometimes even fruits like prunes or pears (see photo left). Another traditional meal served in northwest Germany is "Labskaus" which is salt herring, beef, pork, beets, and potatoes are all ground together. The mixture is then topped with a fried egg, and is served with cucumbers on the side. It's definitely a departure from bratwurst.
When the Berlin Wall fell, a whole branch of German cuisine became available once again to all of Germany, and the world. Eastern Germany offers hearty fare such as lentil soup with Thuringian sausage, which is called "Linsensuppe" mit "Thüringer Rotwurst", and the basic "Kartoffelsuppe", or potato soup. Cities around the region also lay claim to specific local foods. One of particular fame is "Dresdner Stollen", a Christmas cake which was first baked in Dresden in the 14th century. South The food in the southern part of Germany is much more meat-centered than in other regions. Here, you'll find "Rostbratwürste" or finger sausages, "Geschnetzeltes", which is veal in cream sauce, "Rostbraten", or braised beef served with Sauerkraut. The city of Stuttgart is known for a beef stew called "Gaisburger Marsch", and for "Spätzle", a soft, round egg noodle, which is a perfect accompaniment to the many meat dishes you'll find in southern Germany.
Being the capital, it's only fitting that Berlin have a few dishes it's known for apart from the rest of Germany. Berliners spread rabbit pâté, or "Hase im Topf" on dark pumpernickel bread. That' usually followed with either "Erbsensuppe", a pea soup, or "Kohlsuppe", a hearty cabbage soup. Berlin takes Bratwurst a step further with "Regensburger Wurst" a spicy pork sausage, and ends the meal with either cheese"Käsekuchen", or "Gugelhupf", a coffee cake that is a famous coffee cake throughout Germany, and the world.
If you're not up to making any of these authentic German dishes at home, look for a German restaurant where you live, and expand your experience with German food beyond bratwurst and beer.
photo credit: www.oldcommercialroom.de